"There are so many nonconforming signs out there. Pole signs, what we call monument signs," offered Charles Astrike with the City Planning Commission. "It's a major concern."
A drive through Fayetteville reveals dozens of large signs that dot the skyline - especially along the routes to Fort Bragg. The current ordinance says signs can be no bigger than 32-square feet. That's about the size of a 4-by-8 sheet of plywood.
Talk of smaller signs is not sitting well with some business owners - especially in this tough economy.
"You spend money to improve a business - a small business that doesn't make much money anyway. Then, the city comes through and tries to pass a new ordinance for the sign that you just put up [saying it] isn't good enough anymore," offered business owner Bob Rose.
Rose has a new sign advertising his wife's sewing shop that just went up in March.
"And rather than pass something for the future, they try to make it retroactive for all the old businesses that don't make much money," he said.
The proposed ordinance would call for signs to come off poles and be replaced with signs on the side of buildings.
City planners want to reduce clutter, improve curb appeal, and enhance driver safety. They know removing all pole mounted signs is going to be costly.
"People have invested a lot of money in a business, and we have to be sensitive to that," said Astrike. "That's why we feel like if we could put the sign on the building, then that takes care of everything."
The planning commission is looking for public input at its next meeting November 17.